Guy Paschal led the push for Longboat Key’s incorporation in 1955. But, less than a year later, attorney Glen Berry called to tell him the town was “falling to pieces,” according to Ralph Hunter’s “From Calusas to Condominiums.”
The town marshal had quit, and a councilman had resigned. There were 19 ordinances on the books, and the only way the public would know about them was if they saw the fine print of a newspaper ad in a Sarasota daily or the public notice on the Longboat Key post office bulletin board.
So, Paschal decided to publish a newspaper called the Longboat Look-out. Its first issue was May 17, 1955. The paper later became The Key Look-out, which also included the Siesta Outlook and Casey Key Picayunne, with each community’s section inverted. He later added the Key Sun monthly magazine.
Paschal closed the newspaper in 1961 and admitted he lost $127,000 on his publishing venture.
+ Longboat Key Chamber arrives at 55
On May 19, 1958, the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce became official. That’s when Judge John Justice signed off on its charter.
The organization was also the brainchild of Paschal, who kept getting letters from visitors addressed to the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce. The postmaster didn’t know what to do with them, so he delivered them to the newspaper, thinking it might have the answers.
One morning in 1956, after getting “one more letter than I felt any newspaper should have to answer,” as Paschal put it, he went downstairs and saw his friends, Snooks Morehead and Nell Shenkel. He suggested they join the chamber of commerce.
They didn’t know there was a chamber.
“It’s happening now,” Paschal told them. “The dues are two bucks.”
For $2, they decided to risk it.
Although this week will mark the 55-year anniversary of the chamber, the celebration will likely take place in October with the theme, “We’ve arrived at 55.”
+ Turtle season trumps wedding season
A Clearwater couple planned to marry on the Key’s beach May 16, 1998, but the town refused to say “I do” to their plans to place a tent on the beach for the ceremony and reception because it was turtle-nesting season.
The couple’s friends and family had already gathered from afar before they learned town officials objected to the occasion.
Fortunately, they found a last-minute spot where turtles don’t nest: the Longboat Island Chapel’s Friendship Garden.